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SAN DIEGO NWR: Refuge Builds a Bridge With Partners to Improve Trails
California-Nevada Offices , June 12, 2008
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San Diego County Supervisor Diane Jacob, Trails Advocate Marilyn Wilkinson, County Park Ranger Louis Chertkow, San Diego NWR Complex Project Leader Andy Yuen, and San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox cut the ribbon to open the Sweetwater River Bridge on San Diego NWR, July 8, 2008. (USFWS photo: Jill Terp)
San Diego County Supervisor Diane Jacob, Trails Advocate Marilyn Wilkinson, County Park Ranger Louis Chertkow, San Diego NWR Complex Project Leader Andy Yuen, and San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox cut the ribbon to open the Sweetwater River Bridge on San Diego NWR, July 8, 2008. (USFWS photo: Jill Terp) - Photo Credit: n/a
Youth Conservation Corps Crew Members Josh Deguzman, Stephanie Lescana, Sara Mohammadi, and Matthew Warren, along with YCC Crew Leader Brian Bushnell (center), install a fence to protect riparian habitat restoration at Sweetwater River Bridge on San Diego NWR, July 2, 2008. USFWS photo Jill Terp)
Youth Conservation Corps Crew Members Josh Deguzman, Stephanie Lescana, Sara Mohammadi, and Matthew Warren, along with YCC Crew Leader Brian Bushnell (center), install a fence to protect riparian habitat restoration at Sweetwater River Bridge on San Diego NWR, July 2, 2008. USFWS photo Jill Terp) - Photo Credit: n/a

Jill Terp, San Diego NWR

Until recently, hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, and trail runners wanting to make a loop on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge's portion of the Sweetwater River Trail had to cross through the river, stepping from rock-to-rock or walking in the water. This wasn't good for users due to chance of injury nor was it good for the river because in-water crossings can alter stream biota and function. To alleviate this situation the refuge and the County of San Diego joined forces to build a bridge over the river.

Completed in June 2008, the 170-foot by 8-foot structure is a "gluelam" bridge - layers of wood glued together – placed on four concrete footings and braced with steel. To minimize impact on stream flow, wildlife movement, and flood risk to the bridge footings, the center 100’ spans the typical high-flow channel of the river. This design presented quite a challenge for the contractor, Five Rivers Construction. They did an excellent job of minimizing riparian habitat impacts while lifting each of the two 100-foot spans into place and completing the construction. To begin the habitat restoration in areas that could not be avoided, our Youth Conservation Corps installed about 150-feet of split rail fence. Their efforts will help protect the natural and active habitat restoration in the riparian zone adjacent to the bridge.

The total cost of planning, designing, engineering, construction and restoration of disturbed areas was $270,000, with the Service contributing about $100,000 and the balance from the County. A ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 8, 2008, was attended by San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox, County Supervisor Vice-Chair Diane Jacob, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex Project Leader Andy Yuen, and local trails advocate Marilyn Wilkinson, as well as members of the trail, equestrian, and biking communities and local media.

This bridge is just one project that facilitates wildlife-compatible public use on the Refuge and improves the County’s regional trail system. We look forward to many more partnerships between the Service, the County, local community members, and others on projects that help connect people with nature.


Contact Info: Jill Terp, 619-468-9245 x 226, jill_terp@fws.gov



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